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213: High Resolution Data from Space Helps Farmers Plan for Climate Change

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Ecosystem Science combines biology, chemistry, and physics to model and predict responses like wine grape yield forecasting, water management, and disease vector mapping. Joshua Fisher, Associate Professor of Environmental Science & Policy at Schmid College of Science and Technology, Chapman University and science lead at Hydrosat explains how high-resolution data from space helps farmers plan for climate change. His research uses satellites to help growers understand how change their practices to succeed in their current location and predict future winegrowing regions around the world.

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Transcript

Craig Macmillan 0:00

And our guest today is Dr. Joshua Fisher. He is Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at Chapman University, and also science lead with Hydrosat. And today, we're gonna be talking about ecosystem research that he's been doing in some modeling ideas. Thanks for being here, Joshua.

Joshua Fisher 0:16

Thanks for having me.

Craig Macmillan 0:17

Your area is broadly defined, I understand as Ecosystem Science, that'd be an accurate description of your professional life.

Joshua Fisher 0:25

Sure, yep.

Craig Macmillan 0:26

Before we get started, what exactly is Ecosystem Science?

Joshua Fisher 0:29

it's kind of a combination of many sciences. And it's a combination of biology, we got to understand plants, animals, in, you know, down to bacteria and fungi. It's a combination of chemistry, you know, we need to understand how different nutrients and water and carbon interact and transform and it's combination of physics in terms of how energy flows through the system and in heat, and how to model and predict responses of the biology and the chemistry through the physics. So I kind of got into Ecosystem Science or environmental science more broadly, because I was indecisive as a student and couldn't pick a science, like all the sciences, and

Craig Macmillan 1:10

I feel your pain.

Joshua Fisher 1:11

And I didn't want to just pick one. So I was looking around for a major that combine the sciences and environmental science was a good one and got me a chance to get outdoors.

Craig Macmillan 1:20

That's an interesting way to get into what are the applied aspects of this area? Like what are the things things are that you're interested in, in terms of like the applications, but what do you do, and then we'll talk about what you do.

Joshua Fisher 1:32

The applications are really interesting. And it's kind of a career trajectory to, I think, as a student, and as an early career scientist, it was really about doing science, with the applications kind of out there more broadly, for context, but not actually doing anything about anything other than coming up with the best science possible, coming up with the best models, launching satellites, developing new datasets and understanding the way the world works. But actually feeding back to society was something that I've really ramped up throughout my career. And I've seen that among my peers as well, you know, especially in terms of the science trajectory and science reward system, science rewards you for publications for getting grants, and for doing a bit of ivory tower research, it doesn't really reward you, promote you and sustain you for doing applied sciences. And that tends to be a luxury that one gets one when gets into mid career, which is where I'm at now. And it's a great aspect. It's a great privilege to be able to feed back to society, to help farmers, water managers, policy makers, communities, people of color, indigenous tribes, and so on. It's a different type of award. Now it's, it's a reward, that's a personal reward. Something that I feel, you know, really happy about satisfied when I go to sleep at night. And I, you know, have to do my part to change the system for the early career scientist of today, to be rewarded for those applications as well. But in terms of my Applied Science, nowadays, I use my technology that I've launched a space and I'm continuing to launch the space, especially on thermal imaging, to monitor plant stress and water stress, heat stress, and plants using that to help inform irrigation and agricultural crop management, forest management, wildfire, prediction response, even down to urban heat and public health. I have got work with environmental justice, and communities of color and using the data that I've launched to help to help sustain public health as well as environmental science and agriculture and food production and food security. So lots of great applications out there. I'm even working with volcanologist. Our technology to help predict volcanic eruption.

Craig Macmillan 3:43

Oh, wow.

Joshua Fisher 3:44

Incredible array, you know, there's geology as well, mineral exploration. So a lot of applications, aquaculture, you know, helping improve shellfish and diversity as well. So when it comes to what I've gotten myself into, or gotten yourself into Dr. Fisher, over the years a bit of that. And it just happens to be that what I do has a lot of the connections, it isn't very limited. And what I what I've been doing for the past decade has a lot on temperature and heat. And so anywhere there's a signal of heat or temperature, whether it's in crops, whether it's in urban settings, whether it's in volcanoes, whether it's in wildfire that temperature permeates everywhere. And my data have and my science have the ability to help not only the science, but also the applications across nearly in the entire earth system.

Craig Macmillan 4:35

All right now, what are you talking about heat you're looking at this, we're talking about what you do so like on any given day, and I know everybody has these crazy lives where we do one thing on Tuesday and something completely different on Wednesday, but you are scientists, scientists work with data. Your data is coming from space. How did you get into that? I know you've worked on a couple of other or a couple of projects both now When in the past with information data collected from sapce, and I want to know more about that, what kind of data? How's it collected? How's it work? Exactly, yeah, how does somebody get into terrestrial data scientist?

Joshua Fisher 5:14

How does someone go from having one's head in the dirt to having one's head in space?

Craig Macmillan 5:21

And then then back in the dirt sounds like.

Unknown Speaker 5:24

I'm back in the dirt again. Back to my college days, environmental science, started doing undergraduate research at Berkeley, where I was at, mostly because as an undergrad, I was like, Why? Why did I go to Berkeley, you know, it's just a number in a class. It's huge, not the best teaching, the reputation of Berkeley is really for the research. So I said, Well, if I'm going to be here, I better get involved in research. And I got involved in research as an undergrad, and started getting into the Environmental Modeling. And I liked it so much that I continued on at Berkeley for my PhD, and my PhD, and continued Environmental Modeling side. But I was like, well, let's add a new tool to my toolkit. And let's start playing with satellites. Because really, they were just cool toys in the sky, I had really no other kind of ambition, other than to learn how to pick up a new tool and play with it.

Craig Macmillan 6:12

I've seen some really pretty pictures, if you go to the NASA Earth Observatory page, and with all their links and stuff there. It's like a Christmas tree with presents under it. It's just all these pretty colors and all these amazing things. So I can see how you could get drawn into it.

Joshua Fisher 6:27

Yeah, I mean, when you get into all the beautiful imagery, not only in the visible spectrum, but across the medic spectrum, you start to wonder if you are looking at science or art, that distinction that polarization between art and science really starts to blur. And you forget, what are you doing? Are you doing art? Are you doing science? And really, you're doing both. And it's all together. And I've been doing a lot of art, science and synergies over the year as well, which I'm happy to talk to you after I answer your first question, which is how I got into it. So playing with cool satellites, cool toys in the sky, interested in water, because I grew up in California and Alaska, kind of two, polar opposites of environmental extremes. And you know, when I was a kid, we were putting low flow showerheads, you know, in my showers in Los Angeles, where I grew up with my mother. And then my parents split when I was little, my dad lived in Alaska. And when I went to visit my dad, Alaska, we were putting on high flow showerheads, as a kid just kind of flying back and forth. It made me wonder how the world worked. And so growing up in California, especially under droughts and water shortages, as I got into college, I got involved in interested in being able to predict water and how much water we need. We had been able to measure rainfall and snow and groundwater, but not the evaporation components so much. And so that was where the models had to come into play. Because we couldn't measure it. We had a model that we had predicted based on other things. So when I started playing with satellites, my PhD, I was started wondering, I wonder if we could get at evapotranspiration from satellite remote sensing. And so that became the focus of my PhD. And sure enough, I was able to do it at the end of a nice long doctorate. So then right around that time, climate change really blew up. And I was in a unique place where I was observing the earth, using cutting edge technology and models and looking at cycles that transcended the whole earth. And so I kind of stepped right into that, for a fact finished my PhD, decided to if I wanted to be a global climate scientist, I needed to work globally. I had been in the Bay Area for almost 10 years in LA and so on. So I left the US and I went to England to Oxford University. And I thought I would leave the satellite and evapotranspiration stuff behind me. I started working on the climate model. There, I started getting into nitrogen, and the nitrogen cycle. And really my number one goal of moving to England was to pick up a British accent so clearly that although I can't say...

Craig Macmillan 8:56

You went to Oxford, you went to Oxford to figure that out. You just couldn't move to the west end and a little apartment for a couple years. That wasn't going to do it clearly.

Joshua Fisher 9:03

But partially because we got a big project in the Amazon as well and Andes. So I moved into the Amazon and Andes and conducted a big nutrient fertilization experiment up and down the Andes along with a larger team studying ecological dynamics of the rainforest and cloud forest there. So my Spanish got a lot better although it's very much field Spanish, you know, I can converse very fluently when it comes to roots and leaves and soils, but put me in a fine dining restaurant. And I'm like, what is all this cutlery? We didn't have this on Amazon. Eventually made my way out of Amazon Andes back to Oxford and was teaching remote sensing and GIS geographic information systems to the students there. We had a collaborator at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab who was visiting with us and he had tried to recruit me to JPL back in California. And I said, Ah, you know, I just converted my postdoc to a faculty position at Oxford. we're pretty happy here. But then my partner who's awesome from Los Angeles, got a job at Occidental College in Los Angeles. And so she got the job. And so I was like, okay, so I called up my friend at JPL. She has that position still available. And he said, Yeah, you should apply. And so I did. And so I ended up taking a job as a NASA scientist at JPL. And I was there for about 12 years before I left, and joined Chapman University and Hydrosat. Hydrosat was actually a spinoff from JPL. Some JPL scientists, engineers spun off some technology that we'd actually launched to Mars, and decided that we could actually use it for Earth Science and applications and accelerate that transition to society a lot faster. If we did it from a commercial sphere, than from a governmental, you know, wait for contracts and proposals, sphere prime, the science lead for Hydrosat. And even though it's in the commercial realm, I represent the science community and my push to make sure the data are available for free to the science community. And so that's one of my big pushes. It's all about advancing the earth as a whole. And Hydrosat really supports that. And our employees are driven by that mission as well. So that's exciting. So yeah, that's how I got involved in remote sensing and satellites. And it keeps me here today, because that's just what I've gotten good at, for my time at JPL.

Craig Macmillan 11:19

So what kinds of things is hydroset do?

Joshua Fisher 11:22

So we are launching as of, you know, less than a year just in June of 24, a constellation of satellites. And then they measure thermal infrared, so temperature, have very high spatial resolutions. And because it's a constellation, we can cover the earth really rapidly and frequently. So we can get measurements every day, what we call field scales down to 50 meters, for the thermal and in the visible and near infrared down to 20 meters. So really high resolution really frequent and and that's what we need, especially for growers agriculturalists. But even for other applications, like urban heat waves, volcanic eruptions, you know, a lot of things happen at very fine scales, wildfires, and you need to be able to capture it frequently, you can't just wait. And so there's always been this traditional trade off between high spatial resolution and high temporal resolution, you can have one or the other, but not both. It's because you either have your satellite close to the Earth where you can see close detail, but it takes forever to wrap around the earth in full coverage, or you can be further away and cover the earth more frequently. But then your pixel size is not as sharp. The problem with the thermal infrared imaging is that it's always been really expensive. Because it's a temperature sensor. It requires cooling, cryo, cooling, which takes a lot of energy and takes a lot of mass and volume. And on the engineering side, you start to add those up. And it becomes very expensive, from our public public satellites. Landsat has been our workhorse over the past couple of decades. And it's like a billion dollars to watch Landsat so you cannot have a lot. And that's a 16 day repeat. We advanced from Landsat with eco stress out of JPL I was the science lead for eco stress. We put it on the International Space Station. So we could use that energy system and power in crowd cooling. Interesting overpass cadence. So we didn't have to pay for a lot of the engineering. But you know, the the space station, of course, is very expensive.

Craig Macmillan 13:10

What is the overpass cadence on the International Space Station? I've always wondered that. If you're up there, and you're going around how often do you see your house?

Joshua Fisher 13:17

Yeah. And the answer is funky.

Craig Macmillan 13:21

Scientists love that Josh. Yeah, that's a great scientific, that's great for science.

Joshua Fisher 13:27

That's the jargon. That's the technical term. It is it's really funky. It's really weird. It doesn't go over the poles. For one, it hits about 50 to 15 degrees north and south. So it kind of like starts to get up there near Alaska. But it like it turns around, because what we call precesses kind of turns around, and so has this funky orbit. So if you're living in Los Angeles, or Chicago, or New York, a traditional satellite, like Landsat or MODIS, will pass over at the same time, every day for Motus 1030 or 130, for Landsat every 16 days at about 1030. So it's very consistent. And that's good for scientists, as you said, like scientist like that kind of consistent data, they can see if the planets heating up because at 1030, every time things are getting hotter, or whatever, the space station passes over at different times every time it takes your schedule and rips it up and says, you know, I'm doing my own thing. And so today, it'll be 11am. The next time it'll be 2pm. You know, next time it'll be 9am. It's not like every day or every three days. It's every like, sometimes it can be every day. And then like it just says like sia and then it comes back a week later. So it's very inconsistent. And that's why remote sensing scientists, NASA scientists had historically shied away from using the space station as a platform to observe the earth. I came along and said, You know what, this interesting high resolution spatial resolution because it's pretty close to the surface. You can actually see it from your house, passing over at night in this different times of overpass passes actually really good from a plant centric standpoint, plants, they use water throughout the day. But if you don't have enough water, especially in the afternoon, when it's hot and dry, plants will close this stomata, they'll shut down, and maybe reopen them a little bit in the evening to get a little bit more photosynthesis. And before, you know, there's no more sunlight from a 1030, consistent overpassed, you would never see that even from 130, you might not always see that getting that diurnal sampling was a unique trait that I thought would be valuable for Plant Science Ecosystem Science in agriculture. We propose that as part of the Eco stress mission proposal, the review panel at NASA headquarters, Congress love that we had been spending so much money as a nation on the space station. And we hadn't really been using those unique characteristics for Earth observation until we came along. And I think we were like the second Earth mission on the space station. And really the first one to ever use it to observe the earth with its unique characteristics. After we did that a whole bunch of other missions came up afterwards. We were trailblazers.

Craig Macmillan 15:59

That's cool. There's implications in terms of and you know, we're we're focused on plants and one plant in particular, the grapevine the implications for this are that we can see quite a bit of detail, I mean, 50 meters by 50 meters is actually surprisingly tight pixel, small pixel. But we also can see regional, and learn in larger scale patterns that we wouldn't find otherwise, where let's say grow A has great information about what's happening in terms of ET rates on their property, or plant water stress measured with leaf water potential or something like that. Stem water potential, but I'm guessing the field is probably picking up on some some patterns that are beyond what we might have otherwise known about, even if we had really, really good high quality high definition data just at the ground level, but limited parcel size, for instance.

Joshua Fisher 16:47

Yeah, absolutely. Thing is that hydrostat really combines a lot of great characteristics that you might get one from any, any any other individual instrument. So from again, Landsat, you've got that great spatial resolution, but you missed that frequency, promote us, you have the frequency, you miss the spatial resolution from drones, you get that great spatial resolution, but you don't get that large regional coverage, or even frequency from towers, similar, so from aircraft. So with Hydrosat, we're able to pick that a lot, which means that we can do a lot with I think we don't replace drone operations or towers, because those present and provide really useful information. But what we do provide is that just very consistent objective and large scale coverage at the field scale. So if you're a grower, and you got fields, you can run a drone or a couple of times, but you're really not going to see your field, you can get your Lance and your motors, but you're not gonna get that frequency or that resolution tight. So Hydrosat is really beneficial for you in terms of your audience for growers that have a lot of area, and a lot of interesting dynamics that you know, they need to be able to monitor and evapotranspiration, the soil moisture, the temperature, we can get that we also create a lot of products from our data. We just acquired a company called IrriWatch, which was started by my colleague Wim Bastiaanssen, who's a who's a giant and evapotranspiration, and so with me and Wim teaming up, we've got just where you know, the the two headed dragon of evapotranspiration are really pushing technology and solutions into agriculture, viticulture and all the other applications. So Wim and IrriWatch has done is they've reached out to hundreds hundreds of growers all over the world 60 countries and figuring out what are you what are your decisions? What are your What are your questions? What are your operational needs? And have answered pretty much all of them it can be from transpiration to soil moisture to soil deficit to how long do I need to turn on my hose? How long do I need to turn on my valve for? Where am I seeing water deficits? Where am I seeing water leaks? Can I tell us something about my soil health can I forecast crop yield, you know, in growing in viticulture, of course, we're not always trying to maximize the soil moisture to the field capacity. We're sometimes doing deficit irrigation. You even need more precision on that and more frequency. And so we work a lot with the US Department of Agriculture. I've got colleagues at USDA, Martha Anderson, they'll acoustics and tell him they've been doing a lot of viticulture applications. And so they're very excited about Hydrosat and we've been working with them on our early adopter product and hoping to have the USDA be a direct feed from Hydrosat and as much as all our individual growers and collective so we're definitely excited to support agriculture, viticulture, and anyone who can use the data. We want to make sure everyone has the best crop yield and best production and withstands these increasing heatwaves droughts and climate change that is facing everyone.

Craig Macmillan 19:56

So what kind of products does hydroset producing report it advise advising, like, what? What does it look like?

Joshua Fisher 20:03

Yeah, it's a huge list. I mean, so we actually have, since we acquired IrriWatch, we're trying to distill it because I think, with IrriWatch, we inherited about, like 50 different products. So different. So you got this web portal, this API, you can go in on your phone, or on your laptop, or your tablet, or whatever, and load up your field. And you can get your reports, your maps, your tables, your graphs across your different variables, your your irrigation recommendations, we provide irrigation recommendations, things before 10 In the morning, every day, local time. So people know what to do. But you know, then that's like growers, then there's more like water managers who are trying to manage water for a region, we've got policymakers, we've got consultants, so it's we have got a lot of different users, we've got a government. So we've got a lot of different users with different needs. And we have applications for all these different users. We're focused on agriculture, although we have a lot of interest and buy in from, again, like I said, wildfire communities, and forestry and public health and so on. So we're supporting a lot of those communities as well with our data. But we have a lot more analytics information and services for the Agricultural Committee at this at this time.

Craig Macmillan 21:17

I wanted to transition into that area of analytics. And related, you also are interested in modeling. I understand. To me, that's the Holy Grail, and also the Demon. of anyone who works around data. When I collect data, I've got maybe a great looking backward looking model. Fantastic. I tell you what has happened. Okay, great. Tell me what's going to happen. Josh, that's a little harder. And you are you are interested in this and work with this and which supercomputing Is that correct?

Joshua Fisher 21:48

That's right. That's right. Yeah, I do a lot of our system modeling. And it started with evapotranspiration, right again, because we couldn't measure it. So I had to predict it. And we had a lot of different models starting from him in Monte Thornthwaite. And recently, Taylor. And then moving forward, about the time I was in school, the global community started developing Eddy covariance towers, flux towers. And so we had some of the first ones at Berkeley that were measuring evapotranspiration, you know, frequently and across, you know, an ecosystem. So, I was like, well, let's test the models there. So I was, you know, one of the first scientists to test these different evapotranspiration models, and we got it like a dozen or so tested at the number of reflex sights, and I installed sap flow sensors and measured a bunch of things about water to be able to predict the models, or predict, predict evapotranspiration. That got me into understanding the process really well in the mathematics and the predictive capabilities. And then when I moved into the satellite remote sensing realm, we couldn't measure evapotranspiration directly as a gas flux. But you know, we were measuring the temperature signal, which is directly related, we can measure soil moisture, we can measure meteorology, we can measure vegetation, phonology. And so these components start to go together to get out of Apple transpiration. Actually, we can measure evapotranspiration using kind of atmospheric layers. It's very coarse resolution. It's not particularly useful for our land applications, but useful for weather and things like that. That modeling continued into using satellite data as the inputs to those models. And then like I said, I thought I would leave evapotranspiration remote sensing behind me as I moved to England and worked on the climate model. So I got into earth system modeling, and being able to predict, you know, essentially climate change, and what's happening to the fate of the whole planet, not just this year, next year, but 20 years from now, 50 years from now, and at the end of the century, as climate change is really ramping up and we're looking at tipping points in their system. When do plants really start running out of water? When do they run out of nutrients? When are the temperature extremes so much that plants can't survive? And this was actually just a paper that we published last month in nature made the cover of nature, and we use eco stress to detect temperature limits that we're seeing in tropical rainforests right now that we're just seeing starting to exceed the critical temperature in which photosynthesis shuts down. So that got a lot of widespread news coverage. Now we can put this back into their system models and say, are their system models doing this correctly? Some of my volcanology work is actually linked to earth system models, because one of the big uncertainties and unknowns and the fate of the planet is what are the rainforests going to do with increasing co2 And normally, we would set up experiments and pump co2 on to ecosystems and see what's happened. But it's hard to do that and rainforests working with my volcanologist colleagues, we've discovered that volcanoes leak co2 out of their like flanks into the low lying forests. And there's a chain of volcanoes in Costa Rica that are doing this in the rainforests. So we're going in again, back into the jungle, this time, the jungles of the volcanoes, flying drones to sniff out those co2 leaks, flying Lidar and thermal hyperspectral to see what the rainforest responses are. So that all ecology that remote sensing ties back to their system modeling predictive capabilities.

Craig Macmillan 25:05

One of the things I think is fascinating is here we have an ecosystem where we can collect data, we can the ground truth, that data or collect other variables to ground truth and connect, we can then develop like you said, some predictive modeling, and you go, what would a rainforest have to do with Cabernet Sauvignon? My answer is a lot. So where I want to steer things next, as a viticulturist. This is where I should say, the viticulture side of me. I'm very selfish. Not all viticulturist are many are giving open people, but I'm very selfish, and the only thing I care about is okay, what's happening with my vineyard? And what's that gonna look like? 10, 15 years from now, very hot topic right now in the in the wine industry is Wow, things are changing clearly. And so what kinds of changes Am I gonna have to make? Or can I make in terms of what plants I'm planting? Going forward? And I'm guessing that you probably are having some, some insights into plant response under these different conditions? Do you think that we're going to have some models or some ideas in the future about how, you know specific crops like vines might be modified, either in terms of species choice varieties choice or management techniques, or things like that? Is there is there some help for us here?

Joshua Fisher 26:18

Yeah, we already have those, there's kind of two paths or two, two sides to this coin, when it comes to climate change, and viticulture. One is big scale, where can we grow grapes that we couldn't grow before? And to where are we no longer going to be able to grow grapes into the future? The second one is, you know, it's hard to pick up a move to move into a new place or to move out of an old place, what can we do under the changing temperature and changing water cycle and changing seasonal cycle? And so I think that's probably the more immediate pressing question to potentially some of your your listeners is what can we do now? And so, you know, we're working with like the USDA and testing out different seed varieties, and so on. And there's a lot of commercial companies that do to do that as well. And so how do we help? We're not doing seed varieties. We're not doing the genetics of it, although I've got colleagues at Chapman University who are doing that. But what we can do is say, all right, you've got 5, 10 different varieties of the same type of grape, how much water are they using, what's the temperature sensitivity, and not just in a greenhouse or a lab, but across the field. And you can't always get towers and drones everywhere. And you know, maybe you can, but there's local conditions are a little bit unusual. So let's go ahead and plant 10 experimental fields, or maybe you're a grower, and you have a couple fields that you're willing to try out some new varieties. And we can just tell you, yeah, they use less water, or we have also another product called Water Use Efficiency crop for drop in terms of how much carbon is being taken up relative to how much water is being used. And so we can tell you that variety was was pretty good. I think that's the main crux, we can also tell you other things that other people can tell you in terms of phonology, and in Greenup, and so on. I think that helps and dovetails with how I actually got on your podcast with my buddy and colleague, Professor Katie Gold at Cornell University, who does a lot of remote sensing on disease. And so there's diseases are changing with climate change as well. And so with Katie and me arm and arm across, you know, across the coasts, hitting the disease in hyperspectral, and the plant water stress temperature shifts of the thermal, we present a very powerful one, two punch against climate change as it starts to attack our fields and crops. In a more immediate term, we have like a crop yield crop forecast, you know, seasonal forecasts that helps growers understand what they're doing in terms of coming to market, you know, that's a little bit potentially less useful for viticulture, it's more for grain crops and you know, big kind of bulk crops, it's also useful for investors as well. So there's a lot of futures, a lot of crop investors, crop insurance, and so on. And so we can provide just, you know, more accurate forecasts from the existing forecasts, because we have better data on existing conditions and more, a deeper insight into what the plants are seeing doing and feeling and responding because of that temperature signal because of that thermal response.

Craig Macmillan 29:09

That's really cool. And very exciting. And I'm very happy with it. You and Katie, other people are working on this because I think we've done a number of interviews in this area now over the years. And one thing that I have been really inspired by is that 15 years ago, this was kind of a glint in somebody's eye. And then 10 years ago, things were starting to happen. And then probably at least more than even more than five years ago, you'd go to any of the big meetings, and it's like, Hey, we got drones, we can fly your plane. Hey, we got planes, we can fly a plane and these beautiful pictures and stuff. And then suddenly, it actually getting more than five years ago then it was like look at all this NASA stuff. I was like, holy cow. This is taking it to a whole nother level in literally a whole nother level. And so I'm really excited about first I was excited about the data and I'm excited about how we're learning how to use it. And I think that's always been a challenge is We're pretty good at finding ways of collecting data. We're not always so great at figuring out how to use it can run out of time here. But the one thing on this topic that you would tell grape growers in particular, there was one thing that you would tell a grower, what would it be?

Joshua Fisher 30:16

Yeah, if there was one thing I would tell a grape grower is that we're here to support you. And we are working on the technology to meet your needs and demands, the technology is available for you, by all means, reach out, you can Google me, email me, no problem. I'll hook you up some sample data, you know, see if it looks good. If you want to buy in great, if not, no worries, if you just want some advice, consulting, it's all about help. We're all on this ship together Planet Earth to get there. You know, it's all about collaborations and helping across the board.

Craig Macmillan 30:46

Where can people find out more about you?

Joshua Fisher 30:48

I've got a website, my own personal website, you can see all my publications and datasets and so on.

Craig Macmillan 30:54

We will link to that.

Joshua Fisher 30:55

JB Fisher dot org. You can Google me on Josh Fisher and Chapman or Joshua hydrostat. I'm on Twitter, try to tweet out all my papers are relevant papers and science findings in the literature. I'm on LinkedIn and I do meet blog posts on papers met once a quarter on medium. So we're trying to get out there and try to communicate Yeah, more than happy to help.

Craig Macmillan 31:17

Sounds like you're easy to find my guest today. It was Joshua Fisher. He's Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at Chapman University. And he's also the science lead for a company called Hydrosat. And we've been talking about things that are a new window, and I'm very excited about having that window opened in that window being opened wider and wider all the time. Josh, thanks for being a guest. This is great.

Joshua Fisher 31:39

Thanks, Craig. And hopefully, your listeners found it interesting.

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Ecosystem Science combines biology, chemistry, and physics to model and predict responses like wine grape yield forecasting, water management, and disease vector mapping. Joshua Fisher, Associate Professor of Environmental Science & Policy at Schmid College of Science and Technology, Chapman University and science lead at Hydrosat explains how high-resolution data from space helps farmers plan for climate change. His research uses satellites to help growers understand how change their practices to succeed in their current location and predict future winegrowing regions around the world.

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Transcript

Craig Macmillan 0:00

And our guest today is Dr. Joshua Fisher. He is Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at Chapman University, and also science lead with Hydrosat. And today, we're gonna be talking about ecosystem research that he's been doing in some modeling ideas. Thanks for being here, Joshua.

Joshua Fisher 0:16

Thanks for having me.

Craig Macmillan 0:17

Your area is broadly defined, I understand as Ecosystem Science, that'd be an accurate description of your professional life.

Joshua Fisher 0:25

Sure, yep.

Craig Macmillan 0:26

Before we get started, what exactly is Ecosystem Science?

Joshua Fisher 0:29

it's kind of a combination of many sciences. And it's a combination of biology, we got to understand plants, animals, in, you know, down to bacteria and fungi. It's a combination of chemistry, you know, we need to understand how different nutrients and water and carbon interact and transform and it's combination of physics in terms of how energy flows through the system and in heat, and how to model and predict responses of the biology and the chemistry through the physics. So I kind of got into Ecosystem Science or environmental science more broadly, because I was indecisive as a student and couldn't pick a science, like all the sciences, and

Craig Macmillan 1:10

I feel your pain.

Joshua Fisher 1:11

And I didn't want to just pick one. So I was looking around for a major that combine the sciences and environmental science was a good one and got me a chance to get outdoors.

Craig Macmillan 1:20

That's an interesting way to get into what are the applied aspects of this area? Like what are the things things are that you're interested in, in terms of like the applications, but what do you do, and then we'll talk about what you do.

Joshua Fisher 1:32

The applications are really interesting. And it's kind of a career trajectory to, I think, as a student, and as an early career scientist, it was really about doing science, with the applications kind of out there more broadly, for context, but not actually doing anything about anything other than coming up with the best science possible, coming up with the best models, launching satellites, developing new datasets and understanding the way the world works. But actually feeding back to society was something that I've really ramped up throughout my career. And I've seen that among my peers as well, you know, especially in terms of the science trajectory and science reward system, science rewards you for publications for getting grants, and for doing a bit of ivory tower research, it doesn't really reward you, promote you and sustain you for doing applied sciences. And that tends to be a luxury that one gets one when gets into mid career, which is where I'm at now. And it's a great aspect. It's a great privilege to be able to feed back to society, to help farmers, water managers, policy makers, communities, people of color, indigenous tribes, and so on. It's a different type of award. Now it's, it's a reward, that's a personal reward. Something that I feel, you know, really happy about satisfied when I go to sleep at night. And I, you know, have to do my part to change the system for the early career scientist of today, to be rewarded for those applications as well. But in terms of my Applied Science, nowadays, I use my technology that I've launched a space and I'm continuing to launch the space, especially on thermal imaging, to monitor plant stress and water stress, heat stress, and plants using that to help inform irrigation and agricultural crop management, forest management, wildfire, prediction response, even down to urban heat and public health. I have got work with environmental justice, and communities of color and using the data that I've launched to help to help sustain public health as well as environmental science and agriculture and food production and food security. So lots of great applications out there. I'm even working with volcanologist. Our technology to help predict volcanic eruption.

Craig Macmillan 3:43

Oh, wow.

Joshua Fisher 3:44

Incredible array, you know, there's geology as well, mineral exploration. So a lot of applications, aquaculture, you know, helping improve shellfish and diversity as well. So when it comes to what I've gotten myself into, or gotten yourself into Dr. Fisher, over the years a bit of that. And it just happens to be that what I do has a lot of the connections, it isn't very limited. And what I what I've been doing for the past decade has a lot on temperature and heat. And so anywhere there's a signal of heat or temperature, whether it's in crops, whether it's in urban settings, whether it's in volcanoes, whether it's in wildfire that temperature permeates everywhere. And my data have and my science have the ability to help not only the science, but also the applications across nearly in the entire earth system.

Craig Macmillan 4:35

All right now, what are you talking about heat you're looking at this, we're talking about what you do so like on any given day, and I know everybody has these crazy lives where we do one thing on Tuesday and something completely different on Wednesday, but you are scientists, scientists work with data. Your data is coming from space. How did you get into that? I know you've worked on a couple of other or a couple of projects both now When in the past with information data collected from sapce, and I want to know more about that, what kind of data? How's it collected? How's it work? Exactly, yeah, how does somebody get into terrestrial data scientist?

Joshua Fisher 5:14

How does someone go from having one's head in the dirt to having one's head in space?

Craig Macmillan 5:21

And then then back in the dirt sounds like.

Unknown Speaker 5:24

I'm back in the dirt again. Back to my college days, environmental science, started doing undergraduate research at Berkeley, where I was at, mostly because as an undergrad, I was like, Why? Why did I go to Berkeley, you know, it's just a number in a class. It's huge, not the best teaching, the reputation of Berkeley is really for the research. So I said, Well, if I'm going to be here, I better get involved in research. And I got involved in research as an undergrad, and started getting into the Environmental Modeling. And I liked it so much that I continued on at Berkeley for my PhD, and my PhD, and continued Environmental Modeling side. But I was like, well, let's add a new tool to my toolkit. And let's start playing with satellites. Because really, they were just cool toys in the sky, I had really no other kind of ambition, other than to learn how to pick up a new tool and play with it.

Craig Macmillan 6:12

I've seen some really pretty pictures, if you go to the NASA Earth Observatory page, and with all their links and stuff there. It's like a Christmas tree with presents under it. It's just all these pretty colors and all these amazing things. So I can see how you could get drawn into it.

Joshua Fisher 6:27

Yeah, I mean, when you get into all the beautiful imagery, not only in the visible spectrum, but across the medic spectrum, you start to wonder if you are looking at science or art, that distinction that polarization between art and science really starts to blur. And you forget, what are you doing? Are you doing art? Are you doing science? And really, you're doing both. And it's all together. And I've been doing a lot of art, science and synergies over the year as well, which I'm happy to talk to you after I answer your first question, which is how I got into it. So playing with cool satellites, cool toys in the sky, interested in water, because I grew up in California and Alaska, kind of two, polar opposites of environmental extremes. And you know, when I was a kid, we were putting low flow showerheads, you know, in my showers in Los Angeles, where I grew up with my mother. And then my parents split when I was little, my dad lived in Alaska. And when I went to visit my dad, Alaska, we were putting on high flow showerheads, as a kid just kind of flying back and forth. It made me wonder how the world worked. And so growing up in California, especially under droughts and water shortages, as I got into college, I got involved in interested in being able to predict water and how much water we need. We had been able to measure rainfall and snow and groundwater, but not the evaporation components so much. And so that was where the models had to come into play. Because we couldn't measure it. We had a model that we had predicted based on other things. So when I started playing with satellites, my PhD, I was started wondering, I wonder if we could get at evapotranspiration from satellite remote sensing. And so that became the focus of my PhD. And sure enough, I was able to do it at the end of a nice long doctorate. So then right around that time, climate change really blew up. And I was in a unique place where I was observing the earth, using cutting edge technology and models and looking at cycles that transcended the whole earth. And so I kind of stepped right into that, for a fact finished my PhD, decided to if I wanted to be a global climate scientist, I needed to work globally. I had been in the Bay Area for almost 10 years in LA and so on. So I left the US and I went to England to Oxford University. And I thought I would leave the satellite and evapotranspiration stuff behind me. I started working on the climate model. There, I started getting into nitrogen, and the nitrogen cycle. And really my number one goal of moving to England was to pick up a British accent so clearly that although I can't say...

Craig Macmillan 8:56

You went to Oxford, you went to Oxford to figure that out. You just couldn't move to the west end and a little apartment for a couple years. That wasn't going to do it clearly.

Joshua Fisher 9:03

But partially because we got a big project in the Amazon as well and Andes. So I moved into the Amazon and Andes and conducted a big nutrient fertilization experiment up and down the Andes along with a larger team studying ecological dynamics of the rainforest and cloud forest there. So my Spanish got a lot better although it's very much field Spanish, you know, I can converse very fluently when it comes to roots and leaves and soils, but put me in a fine dining restaurant. And I'm like, what is all this cutlery? We didn't have this on Amazon. Eventually made my way out of Amazon Andes back to Oxford and was teaching remote sensing and GIS geographic information systems to the students there. We had a collaborator at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab who was visiting with us and he had tried to recruit me to JPL back in California. And I said, Ah, you know, I just converted my postdoc to a faculty position at Oxford. we're pretty happy here. But then my partner who's awesome from Los Angeles, got a job at Occidental College in Los Angeles. And so she got the job. And so I was like, okay, so I called up my friend at JPL. She has that position still available. And he said, Yeah, you should apply. And so I did. And so I ended up taking a job as a NASA scientist at JPL. And I was there for about 12 years before I left, and joined Chapman University and Hydrosat. Hydrosat was actually a spinoff from JPL. Some JPL scientists, engineers spun off some technology that we'd actually launched to Mars, and decided that we could actually use it for Earth Science and applications and accelerate that transition to society a lot faster. If we did it from a commercial sphere, than from a governmental, you know, wait for contracts and proposals, sphere prime, the science lead for Hydrosat. And even though it's in the commercial realm, I represent the science community and my push to make sure the data are available for free to the science community. And so that's one of my big pushes. It's all about advancing the earth as a whole. And Hydrosat really supports that. And our employees are driven by that mission as well. So that's exciting. So yeah, that's how I got involved in remote sensing and satellites. And it keeps me here today, because that's just what I've gotten good at, for my time at JPL.

Craig Macmillan 11:19

So what kinds of things is hydroset do?

Joshua Fisher 11:22

So we are launching as of, you know, less than a year just in June of 24, a constellation of satellites. And then they measure thermal infrared, so temperature, have very high spatial resolutions. And because it's a constellation, we can cover the earth really rapidly and frequently. So we can get measurements every day, what we call field scales down to 50 meters, for the thermal and in the visible and near infrared down to 20 meters. So really high resolution really frequent and and that's what we need, especially for growers agriculturalists. But even for other applications, like urban heat waves, volcanic eruptions, you know, a lot of things happen at very fine scales, wildfires, and you need to be able to capture it frequently, you can't just wait. And so there's always been this traditional trade off between high spatial resolution and high temporal resolution, you can have one or the other, but not both. It's because you either have your satellite close to the Earth where you can see close detail, but it takes forever to wrap around the earth in full coverage, or you can be further away and cover the earth more frequently. But then your pixel size is not as sharp. The problem with the thermal infrared imaging is that it's always been really expensive. Because it's a temperature sensor. It requires cooling, cryo, cooling, which takes a lot of energy and takes a lot of mass and volume. And on the engineering side, you start to add those up. And it becomes very expensive, from our public public satellites. Landsat has been our workhorse over the past couple of decades. And it's like a billion dollars to watch Landsat so you cannot have a lot. And that's a 16 day repeat. We advanced from Landsat with eco stress out of JPL I was the science lead for eco stress. We put it on the International Space Station. So we could use that energy system and power in crowd cooling. Interesting overpass cadence. So we didn't have to pay for a lot of the engineering. But you know, the the space station, of course, is very expensive.

Craig Macmillan 13:10

What is the overpass cadence on the International Space Station? I've always wondered that. If you're up there, and you're going around how often do you see your house?

Joshua Fisher 13:17

Yeah. And the answer is funky.

Craig Macmillan 13:21

Scientists love that Josh. Yeah, that's a great scientific, that's great for science.

Joshua Fisher 13:27

That's the jargon. That's the technical term. It is it's really funky. It's really weird. It doesn't go over the poles. For one, it hits about 50 to 15 degrees north and south. So it kind of like starts to get up there near Alaska. But it like it turns around, because what we call precesses kind of turns around, and so has this funky orbit. So if you're living in Los Angeles, or Chicago, or New York, a traditional satellite, like Landsat or MODIS, will pass over at the same time, every day for Motus 1030 or 130, for Landsat every 16 days at about 1030. So it's very consistent. And that's good for scientists, as you said, like scientist like that kind of consistent data, they can see if the planets heating up because at 1030, every time things are getting hotter, or whatever, the space station passes over at different times every time it takes your schedule and rips it up and says, you know, I'm doing my own thing. And so today, it'll be 11am. The next time it'll be 2pm. You know, next time it'll be 9am. It's not like every day or every three days. It's every like, sometimes it can be every day. And then like it just says like sia and then it comes back a week later. So it's very inconsistent. And that's why remote sensing scientists, NASA scientists had historically shied away from using the space station as a platform to observe the earth. I came along and said, You know what, this interesting high resolution spatial resolution because it's pretty close to the surface. You can actually see it from your house, passing over at night in this different times of overpass passes actually really good from a plant centric standpoint, plants, they use water throughout the day. But if you don't have enough water, especially in the afternoon, when it's hot and dry, plants will close this stomata, they'll shut down, and maybe reopen them a little bit in the evening to get a little bit more photosynthesis. And before, you know, there's no more sunlight from a 1030, consistent overpassed, you would never see that even from 130, you might not always see that getting that diurnal sampling was a unique trait that I thought would be valuable for Plant Science Ecosystem Science in agriculture. We propose that as part of the Eco stress mission proposal, the review panel at NASA headquarters, Congress love that we had been spending so much money as a nation on the space station. And we hadn't really been using those unique characteristics for Earth observation until we came along. And I think we were like the second Earth mission on the space station. And really the first one to ever use it to observe the earth with its unique characteristics. After we did that a whole bunch of other missions came up afterwards. We were trailblazers.

Craig Macmillan 15:59

That's cool. There's implications in terms of and you know, we're we're focused on plants and one plant in particular, the grapevine the implications for this are that we can see quite a bit of detail, I mean, 50 meters by 50 meters is actually surprisingly tight pixel, small pixel. But we also can see regional, and learn in larger scale patterns that we wouldn't find otherwise, where let's say grow A has great information about what's happening in terms of ET rates on their property, or plant water stress measured with leaf water potential or something like that. Stem water potential, but I'm guessing the field is probably picking up on some some patterns that are beyond what we might have otherwise known about, even if we had really, really good high quality high definition data just at the ground level, but limited parcel size, for instance.

Joshua Fisher 16:47

Yeah, absolutely. Thing is that hydrostat really combines a lot of great characteristics that you might get one from any, any any other individual instrument. So from again, Landsat, you've got that great spatial resolution, but you missed that frequency, promote us, you have the frequency, you miss the spatial resolution from drones, you get that great spatial resolution, but you don't get that large regional coverage, or even frequency from towers, similar, so from aircraft. So with Hydrosat, we're able to pick that a lot, which means that we can do a lot with I think we don't replace drone operations or towers, because those present and provide really useful information. But what we do provide is that just very consistent objective and large scale coverage at the field scale. So if you're a grower, and you got fields, you can run a drone or a couple of times, but you're really not going to see your field, you can get your Lance and your motors, but you're not gonna get that frequency or that resolution tight. So Hydrosat is really beneficial for you in terms of your audience for growers that have a lot of area, and a lot of interesting dynamics that you know, they need to be able to monitor and evapotranspiration, the soil moisture, the temperature, we can get that we also create a lot of products from our data. We just acquired a company called IrriWatch, which was started by my colleague Wim Bastiaanssen, who's a who's a giant and evapotranspiration, and so with me and Wim teaming up, we've got just where you know, the the two headed dragon of evapotranspiration are really pushing technology and solutions into agriculture, viticulture and all the other applications. So Wim and IrriWatch has done is they've reached out to hundreds hundreds of growers all over the world 60 countries and figuring out what are you what are your decisions? What are your What are your questions? What are your operational needs? And have answered pretty much all of them it can be from transpiration to soil moisture to soil deficit to how long do I need to turn on my hose? How long do I need to turn on my valve for? Where am I seeing water deficits? Where am I seeing water leaks? Can I tell us something about my soil health can I forecast crop yield, you know, in growing in viticulture, of course, we're not always trying to maximize the soil moisture to the field capacity. We're sometimes doing deficit irrigation. You even need more precision on that and more frequency. And so we work a lot with the US Department of Agriculture. I've got colleagues at USDA, Martha Anderson, they'll acoustics and tell him they've been doing a lot of viticulture applications. And so they're very excited about Hydrosat and we've been working with them on our early adopter product and hoping to have the USDA be a direct feed from Hydrosat and as much as all our individual growers and collective so we're definitely excited to support agriculture, viticulture, and anyone who can use the data. We want to make sure everyone has the best crop yield and best production and withstands these increasing heatwaves droughts and climate change that is facing everyone.

Craig Macmillan 19:56

So what kind of products does hydroset producing report it advise advising, like, what? What does it look like?

Joshua Fisher 20:03

Yeah, it's a huge list. I mean, so we actually have, since we acquired IrriWatch, we're trying to distill it because I think, with IrriWatch, we inherited about, like 50 different products. So different. So you got this web portal, this API, you can go in on your phone, or on your laptop, or your tablet, or whatever, and load up your field. And you can get your reports, your maps, your tables, your graphs across your different variables, your your irrigation recommendations, we provide irrigation recommendations, things before 10 In the morning, every day, local time. So people know what to do. But you know, then that's like growers, then there's more like water managers who are trying to manage water for a region, we've got policymakers, we've got consultants, so it's we have got a lot of different users, we've got a government. So we've got a lot of different users with different needs. And we have applications for all these different users. We're focused on agriculture, although we have a lot of interest and buy in from, again, like I said, wildfire communities, and forestry and public health and so on. So we're supporting a lot of those communities as well with our data. But we have a lot more analytics information and services for the Agricultural Committee at this at this time.

Craig Macmillan 21:17

I wanted to transition into that area of analytics. And related, you also are interested in modeling. I understand. To me, that's the Holy Grail, and also the Demon. of anyone who works around data. When I collect data, I've got maybe a great looking backward looking model. Fantastic. I tell you what has happened. Okay, great. Tell me what's going to happen. Josh, that's a little harder. And you are you are interested in this and work with this and which supercomputing Is that correct?

Joshua Fisher 21:48

That's right. That's right. Yeah, I do a lot of our system modeling. And it started with evapotranspiration, right again, because we couldn't measure it. So I had to predict it. And we had a lot of different models starting from him in Monte Thornthwaite. And recently, Taylor. And then moving forward, about the time I was in school, the global community started developing Eddy covariance towers, flux towers. And so we had some of the first ones at Berkeley that were measuring evapotranspiration, you know, frequently and across, you know, an ecosystem. So, I was like, well, let's test the models there. So I was, you know, one of the first scientists to test these different evapotranspiration models, and we got it like a dozen or so tested at the number of reflex sights, and I installed sap flow sensors and measured a bunch of things about water to be able to predict the models, or predict, predict evapotranspiration. That got me into understanding the process really well in the mathematics and the predictive capabilities. And then when I moved into the satellite remote sensing realm, we couldn't measure evapotranspiration directly as a gas flux. But you know, we were measuring the temperature signal, which is directly related, we can measure soil moisture, we can measure meteorology, we can measure vegetation, phonology. And so these components start to go together to get out of Apple transpiration. Actually, we can measure evapotranspiration using kind of atmospheric layers. It's very coarse resolution. It's not particularly useful for our land applications, but useful for weather and things like that. That modeling continued into using satellite data as the inputs to those models. And then like I said, I thought I would leave evapotranspiration remote sensing behind me as I moved to England and worked on the climate model. So I got into earth system modeling, and being able to predict, you know, essentially climate change, and what's happening to the fate of the whole planet, not just this year, next year, but 20 years from now, 50 years from now, and at the end of the century, as climate change is really ramping up and we're looking at tipping points in their system. When do plants really start running out of water? When do they run out of nutrients? When are the temperature extremes so much that plants can't survive? And this was actually just a paper that we published last month in nature made the cover of nature, and we use eco stress to detect temperature limits that we're seeing in tropical rainforests right now that we're just seeing starting to exceed the critical temperature in which photosynthesis shuts down. So that got a lot of widespread news coverage. Now we can put this back into their system models and say, are their system models doing this correctly? Some of my volcanology work is actually linked to earth system models, because one of the big uncertainties and unknowns and the fate of the planet is what are the rainforests going to do with increasing co2 And normally, we would set up experiments and pump co2 on to ecosystems and see what's happened. But it's hard to do that and rainforests working with my volcanologist colleagues, we've discovered that volcanoes leak co2 out of their like flanks into the low lying forests. And there's a chain of volcanoes in Costa Rica that are doing this in the rainforests. So we're going in again, back into the jungle, this time, the jungles of the volcanoes, flying drones to sniff out those co2 leaks, flying Lidar and thermal hyperspectral to see what the rainforest responses are. So that all ecology that remote sensing ties back to their system modeling predictive capabilities.

Craig Macmillan 25:05

One of the things I think is fascinating is here we have an ecosystem where we can collect data, we can the ground truth, that data or collect other variables to ground truth and connect, we can then develop like you said, some predictive modeling, and you go, what would a rainforest have to do with Cabernet Sauvignon? My answer is a lot. So where I want to steer things next, as a viticulturist. This is where I should say, the viticulture side of me. I'm very selfish. Not all viticulturist are many are giving open people, but I'm very selfish, and the only thing I care about is okay, what's happening with my vineyard? And what's that gonna look like? 10, 15 years from now, very hot topic right now in the in the wine industry is Wow, things are changing clearly. And so what kinds of changes Am I gonna have to make? Or can I make in terms of what plants I'm planting? Going forward? And I'm guessing that you probably are having some, some insights into plant response under these different conditions? Do you think that we're going to have some models or some ideas in the future about how, you know specific crops like vines might be modified, either in terms of species choice varieties choice or management techniques, or things like that? Is there is there some help for us here?

Joshua Fisher 26:18

Yeah, we already have those, there's kind of two paths or two, two sides to this coin, when it comes to climate change, and viticulture. One is big scale, where can we grow grapes that we couldn't grow before? And to where are we no longer going to be able to grow grapes into the future? The second one is, you know, it's hard to pick up a move to move into a new place or to move out of an old place, what can we do under the changing temperature and changing water cycle and changing seasonal cycle? And so I think that's probably the more immediate pressing question to potentially some of your your listeners is what can we do now? And so, you know, we're working with like the USDA and testing out different seed varieties, and so on. And there's a lot of commercial companies that do to do that as well. And so how do we help? We're not doing seed varieties. We're not doing the genetics of it, although I've got colleagues at Chapman University who are doing that. But what we can do is say, all right, you've got 5, 10 different varieties of the same type of grape, how much water are they using, what's the temperature sensitivity, and not just in a greenhouse or a lab, but across the field. And you can't always get towers and drones everywhere. And you know, maybe you can, but there's local conditions are a little bit unusual. So let's go ahead and plant 10 experimental fields, or maybe you're a grower, and you have a couple fields that you're willing to try out some new varieties. And we can just tell you, yeah, they use less water, or we have also another product called Water Use Efficiency crop for drop in terms of how much carbon is being taken up relative to how much water is being used. And so we can tell you that variety was was pretty good. I think that's the main crux, we can also tell you other things that other people can tell you in terms of phonology, and in Greenup, and so on. I think that helps and dovetails with how I actually got on your podcast with my buddy and colleague, Professor Katie Gold at Cornell University, who does a lot of remote sensing on disease. And so there's diseases are changing with climate change as well. And so with Katie and me arm and arm across, you know, across the coasts, hitting the disease in hyperspectral, and the plant water stress temperature shifts of the thermal, we present a very powerful one, two punch against climate change as it starts to attack our fields and crops. In a more immediate term, we have like a crop yield crop forecast, you know, seasonal forecasts that helps growers understand what they're doing in terms of coming to market, you know, that's a little bit potentially less useful for viticulture, it's more for grain crops and you know, big kind of bulk crops, it's also useful for investors as well. So there's a lot of futures, a lot of crop investors, crop insurance, and so on. And so we can provide just, you know, more accurate forecasts from the existing forecasts, because we have better data on existing conditions and more, a deeper insight into what the plants are seeing doing and feeling and responding because of that temperature signal because of that thermal response.

Craig Macmillan 29:09

That's really cool. And very exciting. And I'm very happy with it. You and Katie, other people are working on this because I think we've done a number of interviews in this area now over the years. And one thing that I have been really inspired by is that 15 years ago, this was kind of a glint in somebody's eye. And then 10 years ago, things were starting to happen. And then probably at least more than even more than five years ago, you'd go to any of the big meetings, and it's like, Hey, we got drones, we can fly your plane. Hey, we got planes, we can fly a plane and these beautiful pictures and stuff. And then suddenly, it actually getting more than five years ago then it was like look at all this NASA stuff. I was like, holy cow. This is taking it to a whole nother level in literally a whole nother level. And so I'm really excited about first I was excited about the data and I'm excited about how we're learning how to use it. And I think that's always been a challenge is We're pretty good at finding ways of collecting data. We're not always so great at figuring out how to use it can run out of time here. But the one thing on this topic that you would tell grape growers in particular, there was one thing that you would tell a grower, what would it be?

Joshua Fisher 30:16

Yeah, if there was one thing I would tell a grape grower is that we're here to support you. And we are working on the technology to meet your needs and demands, the technology is available for you, by all means, reach out, you can Google me, email me, no problem. I'll hook you up some sample data, you know, see if it looks good. If you want to buy in great, if not, no worries, if you just want some advice, consulting, it's all about help. We're all on this ship together Planet Earth to get there. You know, it's all about collaborations and helping across the board.

Craig Macmillan 30:46

Where can people find out more about you?

Joshua Fisher 30:48

I've got a website, my own personal website, you can see all my publications and datasets and so on.

Craig Macmillan 30:54

We will link to that.

Joshua Fisher 30:55

JB Fisher dot org. You can Google me on Josh Fisher and Chapman or Joshua hydrostat. I'm on Twitter, try to tweet out all my papers are relevant papers and science findings in the literature. I'm on LinkedIn and I do meet blog posts on papers met once a quarter on medium. So we're trying to get out there and try to communicate Yeah, more than happy to help.

Craig Macmillan 31:17

Sounds like you're easy to find my guest today. It was Joshua Fisher. He's Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at Chapman University. And he's also the science lead for a company called Hydrosat. And we've been talking about things that are a new window, and I'm very excited about having that window opened in that window being opened wider and wider all the time. Josh, thanks for being a guest. This is great.

Joshua Fisher 31:39

Thanks, Craig. And hopefully, your listeners found it interesting.

Nearly perfect transcription by https://otter.ai

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